12 May 2015
Today, the ‘Joint Links group’, representing 100 voluntary organisations across the UK, has published a
position statement warning that the European Commission’s REFIT ‘Fitness Check’ of the Birds and
Habitats Directives is the single biggest threat to UK and European nature and biodiversity in a
The organisations raise concerns that the Directives are under threat of being weakened by those who
mistakenly regard them as a block on business and economic growth. In the current political context
any revision of the Directives would expose them to prolonged uncertainty and leave the long-term
future of Europe’s biodiversity vulnerable to short-term political priorities.
Chair of the Joint Links’ Habitats and Birds group Kate Jennings, (RSPB), said:
“The Habitats and Birds Directives are the foundation of nature conservation across Europe and are
scientifically proven to be effective where properly implemented. The Directives deliver demonstrable
benefits for nature, as well as significant social and economic benefits.”
“For over 30 years they have protected some of our best loved and most iconic landscapes from the
Scottish Flow County to the sand dunes and marshes of the north Norfolk coast. They are essential to
the protection of species large and small, from the Basking Shark and the Harbour Porpoise, to the
Dartford Warbler and the Hazel Dormouse.
“The strength of support from 100 voluntary organisations across the UK shows how significant the
Directives are in safeguarding Europe’s biodiversity. Uncertainty over the future of the Directives
resulting from the ‘Fitness Check’ review could be bad for nature, bad for people and bad for business.”
The Joint Links group’s response to the EC consultation sets out a huge volume of evidence that
demonstrates the effectiveness of the Directives in protecting nature, providing huge benefits for people
and providing a stable framework for responsible businesses.
On 30 April the European Commission launched its public consultation on the Directives. Voluntary
organisations have also today launched the ‘Nature Alert’ electronic tool, enabling the public to have their say in one easy click Nature Alert EU
ENDSNature Alert EU
Notes to Editors
1. Joint Links collectively represents voluntary organisations with more than 8 million supporters
across the UK. It comprises the combined memberships of Wildlife and Countryside Link,
Scottish Environment Link, Wales Environment Link and the Northern Ireland Environment Link.
Each is a coalition of environmental voluntary organisations, united by their common interest in
the conservation and restoration of nature and the promotion of sustainable development across
the terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments.
2. For more information please contact;
a. Dr Elaine King, Director of Wildlife and Countryside Link, 07846 571252.
b. Grahame Madge, RSPB, 01767 693221 or 07702 196902
c. Sandra Bell, Friends of the Earth, 0794 117 6957
d. Pete Morris, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, 01453 891179
3. The ‘Nature Alert’ tool was developed by a coalition of Europe-wide voluntary organisations (BirdLife Europe; European Environmental Bureau; Friends of the Earth Europe; and WWF Europe). The tool is being made available to citizens of 28 European countries and has been translated into 20 languages.
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